... from The Creative Casa
Endnotes from: 'Tales from the Creative Casa' by Anita Belli
1. Morning pages is based on an exercise from Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way’ (A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self). As soon as I get out of bed; after putting the dog out, feeding the cat and putting on the coffee, I write. Whatever comes into my head gets put into words. You capture all the unconscious thoughts, ideas and dreams which you didn’t even know were there and which evaporate like mist as the morning dawns and life gets in the way. I fill a notebook every three or four weeks with this process and now I cannot start my day without it. I write on a computer the rest of the time but my Morning Pages are hand written. There is something magical about waking up and taking a pen and making marks on paper. It is primitive and spontaneous. I use this as a warm up to develop fluency between feeling, thought and words. It has become my scales and arpeggios, or ballet barre.
2. Develop a reflective practice: sieve the morning pages and the memory banks looking for connections, themes, links and ironies: all fertile ground to grow ideas. All sorts of things come up and writing them down gives tangible form, like water from mist, which can be bottled and stored, distilled and explored, to find an essence which you can process later and use in your fiction.
3. Get the Notebook Habit: Carry it around with you. Write everything down: snippets overheard can spark a short story. Observing people can spark an idea for a character. Write down how you feel. How the world is treating you. How you are treating the world. Your interaction with others. Even if it doesn’t spark an idea for a story setting or character, it will at least get it out of your system so that personal rants don’t make it into the pages of your fiction.
4. Warm up the body: greet the day with feathered wings not feet of clay: Get in touch with your body; shake it up and wake it up; alert the senses to the day; through gentle stretches, or a walk. Dogs are great companions and motivators; they get you out of the house in all weathers. Breathe. The ‘inspiration’ of breath is taken for granted. Connect with it consciously.
5. People matter. Refresh the pool of ideas and resources through interaction with interesting people thus creating flow and sustaining the process. Populating your creative life adds value to the seeds and ideas.
6 Play games; borrow a child if necessary. You can have fun and liberate the locked-in creative soul of the curious child who is willing to play and hasn’t yet learned the inhibitions and fears of the adult. Be playful and bring joy back into your life and work.
7. Location and environment are also important. Try a different place, a new space, a refreshing view. Recharge the spirit; do something different or go somewhere you haven’t been before. Vary the morning walk, or shop in a different town. Visit someone who lives in a very different environment to your – urban or countryside, village or metropolis; it is all grist to the mill.
8. Learn through doing; experience it. Doing is where the meaning is and if you find the meaning you learn more; another small step on the creative journey. It sounds obvious, but the more you write and reflect, the more you will learn about yourself and your writing.
9. Be present in your life: explore the boundaries of being present in your life; of turning up and experiencing it; and translating those experiences into creative thought and insights.
10. Use all of the senses as you write, paint, create, make, sing, play. Feel it. taste it; hear it; look again; see the layers. Experience it. Go on a treasure hunt to a market, or a village or an urban street or an empty beach and gather notes or images for each of the five senses. Review your notes and images and notice connections, links themes and ironies.
Creativity requires trust and imagination and placing yourself in the moment and exploring the whole world with the whole self. And having fun along the way and sharing it with like minded fellow travelers.
Contact me if you wish to continue the conversation or participate in workshops.